Frantz – September 17, 18, 19
Frantz is a 2016 drama film directed by François Ozon. It is about a young German woman whose fiance was killed in World War I, and the remorse of the French soldier who killed him. It was selected to compete for the Golden Lion at the 73rd Venice International Film Festival.At Venice, the film won the Marcello Mastroianni Award.At the 42nd César Awards, Frantz was nominated in eleven categories, winning one for Best Cinematography.
In Quedlinburg, Germany, 1919, Anna, a German woman (Paula Beer) grieving over the death of her fiancé, Frantz Hoffmeister, in World War I, leaves flowers at his grave. She sees Adrien (Pierre Niney), a Frenchman, also leave flowers at his grave. Adrien goes to the home of Frantz’s parents, Dr. Hans and Magda Hoffmeister, and tries to speak to Hans, but when Hans hears that Adrien is French, he tells Adrien that a Frenchman killed his son, and drives Adrien away. Adrien tells Hans, “You are right. I am a murderer.” Anna meets Adrien, and invites him to the Hoffmeister home. She tells the Hoffmeisters that Adrien was leaving flowers at Frantz’s grave, and they relent. Around the dinner table, upon questioning, Adrien says that he and Frantz were students together in Paris. He describes their last day together, when they visited the Louvre. In the flashbacks, there is a strong suggestion that the two were lovers. Anna shows Adrien the places she and Frantz used to go together, and the mountaintop where he asked her to marry him. Adrien lifts Anna (and the Hoffmeisters) out of their despair. The Hoffmeisters ask Adrien, who was a first violinist in Paris before the war, to play Frantz’s violin for them, as Frantz used to do. Adrien asks Anna to go to the ball with him, and she accepts.
Finally, at Frantz’s grave, Adrien confesses to Anna that he lied about being Frantz’s friend in Paris before the war. Actually, they met as enemy soldiers on the battlefield, face to face in a trench where Adrian killed Frantz. Frantz was a pacifist, and his gun was unloaded. Adrien found Frantz’s last letter to Anna on his body and, wracked with guilt, resolved to visit Germany in order to seek forgiveness. Anna, heartbroken, coldly refuses and tells him not to tell the truth to the Hoffmeisters. Adrien returns to Paris and Anna sinks back into despair, attempting to drown herself. After being nursed back to health by the Hoffmeisters, Anna’s spirits gradually recover and she decides to contact Adrian again. When Anna sends him a letter several months later, it is returned with no forwarding address.
Magda Hoffmeister, who had encouraged a romance between Anna and Adrien, encourages her to go to Paris and find him. She eventually tracks down Adrien at his mother’s estate, and forgives him, though he says he will never forgive himself. She also discovers that Adrien is about to enter an arranged marriage with a childhood friend, Fanny. Anna realises that the romance she had imagined developing between her and Adrien had all been in her head; all he had wanted was from her was forgiveness. She leaves on the train, and kisses Adrien goodbye at the station. She continues writing to the Hoffmeisters as if she and Adrien are now together. In reality, she is living her own life in Paris, having finally found independence.